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Celebrating Me first

If anyone has been within an inch of Twitter recently, you’ll have probably been bombarded with tweets from the Me first team and #CYPMefirst.  We’ve not only just had our first, incredibly successful Twitter chat (thank you to everyone who made it such a great conversation!) but we’ve also been shortlisted for three more awards.

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Me first may only have a small core team, but thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of everyone who has been on Me first training, the Me first Communication Champions, and to the many people who have supported and promoted Me first, we really have all achieved so much.  Collaboration is at the heart of Me first – collaboration with children and young people and collaborating together as a growing community.  So, let’s take a quick look at what we have worked together to achieve:

  • Over 350 healthcare professionals have been involved in the Me first masterclasses, with 650 planned to come along by the end of March.
  • There have been over 13,000 visits to mefirst.org.uk
  • You have helped us to harness social media and connect with a Twitter reach of over 17 million
  • We’ve been promoting Me first all over the country, presenting at many national conferences, including RCGP, RCN and Patient Experience Network… and next year we’re going global as we take Me first to the Beryl Institute Patient Experience conference in the US!!
  • With your help, we have sourced and shared over 80 resources that champion child and young person centred communication
  • Our incredible, growing network of over 30 Me first Communication Champions continue to champion Me first in their teams and services (you can find out how to become a communication champion here

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  • We have been shortlisted for a Nursing Times Award, a Health Service Journal Award, and a Children and Young People Now award. Watch out for the coming twitter storms, our next one is on 28th November when we find out if we have won!

 

The difference this makes

Whilst the numbers tell part of the story, we all do this is because we are passionate about child and young person centred communication and the difference this makes to children and young people.

Involving children and young people in decisions about their care is at the heart of child and young person centred communication.  We know that this enables children and young people to feel heard and understood, supports them to feel less worried or anxious, and enables healthcare professionals to provide personalised care and support.  Whilst every conversation is important, we know that the sum of child and young person centred communication is greater than it’s parts.  As many young people say “we don’t just suddenly learn to make choices when we turn 18”.  Over time, being involved in decisions supports children and young people to feel in control, develops their understanding and sense of ownership of their health, and develops their confidence.

During a recent conversation about Me first, someone said “Me first is a great model for all ages, not just children” and as someone who has used healthcare services since childhood, I know this only too well.  Despite being someone who trains and researches child and young person centred communication, when I access healthcare, I’m still a just a patient.  Whilst the quality of the treatment I have received over the years has always been excellent, my experience of it has varied greatly.  Communication is the interface between treatment and experience – it’s the difference between feeling safe, heard, supported or being left feeling worried, anxious and uncertain. What makes the biggest difference to me is when healthcare professionals let me know they want to listen to me, when we talk to get a shared understanding, when they take the time to find out what is important to me and involve me in choices and decisions about my healthcare… or, in other words, the Me first model!

This is why it’s so exciting to be involved with Me first’s growing community of people who are so passionate about promoting child and young person centred communication.

 

Where next for Me first?

We’re continuing to grow Me first and we’re delighted to be working with NHS England to develop training to support healthcare professionals to develop the skills and confidence to open up conversations with children and young people when they have concerns about safeguarding or sexual exploitation.  I am also developing a new programme, funded by Health Education England and the Department of Health, called Open Talk, which is designed to support collaborative decision-making in children and young people’s mental health services.

 

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So, thank you again to everyone who has helped to get Me first where it is today and we all look forward to continuing to work with you all in the future.

Kate Martin

Director of Common Room and co-lead of Me first

For more information about Open Talk please email [email protected]

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